NFL Betting Guide: Preseason Week 1 (Saturday)

Which teams will play starters? And where can we find competitiveness advantages on Saturday?

Betting on preseason games requires a bit more nuance than regular season NFL matchups. Historical preseason betting trends can help get our bearing, but from there, we'll need to track news about playing time.

What do the trends and news point to? Where is there value on the NFL betting lines at FanDuel Sportsbook?

Seahawks at Steelers

Quick Game Notes
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that their starters will play around a quarter and that Mitchell Trubisky will start. And it's expected that Mason Rudolph will be the second quarterback to enter the game, not first-round rookie Kenny Pickett.

Geno Smith will start at quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.

Over 36.0 (-110)
Although only a select few bettors would be tempted to hammer an over in the regular season with these quarterbacks, this is the preseason, and this is a pretty solid stable of passers overall for an exhibition game.

There should be enough solid quality quarterback play in this game that teams can put up points.

In his career, Trubisky has maintained an EPA per drop back rate of 0.16 in the preseason, via NextGenStats, with an adjusted yards per attempt rate of 7.6. Rudolph (-0.02 EPA per drop back) and Drew Lock (-0.07) are passable, as well. Smith, in the regular season in 2021, secured a better-than-average 7.4 yards-per-attempt average.

Dolphins at Buccaneers

Quick Game Notes
Mike McDaniel, head coach for the Miami Dolphins, has said he is "encouraged about the idea of not playing" quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to be without most starters.

Buccaneers +1.5 (-110)
Under 31.5 (-115)
With neither team seeming likely to lean on heavy starter snaps, taking the points is generally a fine strategy.

The light emphasis on starters makes for an interesting under. The odds are a bit heavier than normal at -115. That indicates action on the under without being prohibitive, too.

Cowboys at Broncos

Quick Game Notes
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy's comments show more value on "competitive" practice snaps than preseason snaps for the starters, so they'll be focusing on their young players in Week 1.

As for the Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson is not expected to play.

Broncos Moneyline (-145)
The Cowboys went 0-4 last preseason under McCarthy, who clearly doesn't put an emphasis on the exhibition season. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett isn't going to risk Wilson under center to pick up a win.

That being said, Josh Johnson has a 0.07 EPA per drop back in the preseason in his career with an adjusted yards per attempt rate of 8.0.

The Cowboys' trio -- Cooper Rush (-0.16), Will Grier (-0.31), and Ben DiNucci (-0.32) -- probably won't do enough for McCarthy's first preseason win in Dallas.